The Maryland Senate, at the request of bill opponents, Wednesday delayed debate on same-sex marriage by one day, giving members a chance to craft amendments and prepare for a “free-ranging and robust discussion” that could carry over into Friday.
“I don’t get the sense that we have to rush through this,” said Senate Minority Whip Edward R. Reilly, R-Anne Arundel, a bill opponent.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said he expects many amendments to be introduced, including a motion by Reilly Wednesday to reestablish the bill’s original effective date. The same amendment was defeated in committee Tuesday.
But members expect no changes to HB 438 because any amendments would force the legislation back to the House, potentially killing it.
“Any effort to amend the bill at this point would kill the bill,” said bill supporter Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, who will lead the floor debate.
Miller, an opponent of the bill, said the chamber will take up debate Thursday morning, continuing into the afternoon and possibly the evening.
While Miller said consideration of the Civil Marriage Protection Act could stretch into Friday morning, he does not “anticipate that a single vote has changed” from last year when a similar bill cleared the chamber 25-21, with one member absent.
The Judicial Proceedings Committee on Tuesday voted 7-4 to advance the bill, which narrowly passed the House of Delegates Friday evening.